The 5 Ws of an Organized Adwords Account Structure

By Heather Whittington | Google Adwords
Posted April 14, 2015

The 5 Ws of Adwords Account Structure

If you’re like me and you not only alphabetize your spice rack, but group your spices by cuisine, defining your Adwords account structure will be your favorite part of setting up a new account. If the word “organization” makes you cringe, don’t worry. This guide will help you structure a successful campaign in a snap!

Setting it up right from the start will not only make it easier to optimize your account after data has accumulated, it will save you boatloads of wasted ad spend.

As any journalist will tell you, making sure you’ve nailed the “Five Ws” is critical to effective communication. You can apply that same thinking to creating an organized Adwords account structure. Let’s look at how…

Campaigns: Where, When, & How Much

Campaigns in Adwords are where you set all of your top-level targeting options. Those include the network type, geographic location and the time of day you want your ads to appear. You can also choose to bid higher or lower for a specific device with device bid modifiers, set your daily campaign budget, and designate campaign-level ad extensions.

It is important to note that the default settings Google provides are not tilted in the advertiser’s favor. You pay a premium for simplicity. We will dive deep into the campaign settings in a future blog, but you can learn a lot by reviewing the campaign settings one by one as you ask yourself this question for each:

What option will bring me the right customer at the right time?

Where Should Your Ads Be Seen? Networks, Devices & Locations

Networks: The first three settings under the Campaign tab address the “where” question. First you need to decide where on the internet you appear, which we addressed in the article PPC Psychology 101: Adwords Search vs. Display Network.

Devices: Back in the day, you used to be able to set up a campaign to target a specific device: computer, mobile or tablet. These days, device targeting is managed on the campaign settings tab after you initially set up the Campaign. Simply choose a campaign, navigate to the settings tab, choose “Change mobile bid adjustment” and raise or lower you bid in the form of percentage.

Mobile bid adjustment

If you don’t want your ads to show on mobile, for example, type in “-100%” in the mobile box. If mobile customers are more valuable to you than Computer & Tablet searchers, choose how much more you are willing to bid and enter it. Bids can be raised up to 300%.

Locations: If you are in the United States, the default setting for locations will be “United States and Canada.” At the very least, I recommend targeting by country, but most accounts will benefit from more granular targeting, for three reasons.

First, every region has its own economic influences, and so your average CPC will vary from country to country and state to state. Separating regions by campaign will give you more control over how much to bid. From time to time you should run a geographic report from the dimensions tab to explore what regions perform better, and consider allocating your budget accordingly.

Second is language variations. Even if you’re targeting English-speaking countries, the same word will have a different meaning in New Zealand vs. the United States, for instance, and you don’t want to risk confusing or insulting a potential buyer. An added bonus for narrowing the geographic reach is improved CTR when you use geographic modifiers in the ad itself. You would not want an ad offering Kansas Auto Insurance showing up in Christchurch!

Third, different offers will fly in one region and flop in another. Rural customers have different needs than city dwellers. Canadians may prefer one offer, while buyers in the UK response to something completely different.

When: Ad Scheduling

The default “Ad scheduling” option is set to “Showing ads all the time.” This is a benefit for some advertisers, but not for all. If you are selling enterprise software, conversions may be more likely to occur between 8am and 4pm Monday through Friday, while an insurance company may do well in the evenings and on weekends. You can use reporting software and tools like Google Analytics to analyze your data and optimize these settings once you have some data to work with, but your common sense will give you a good starting point!

How Much: Set Your Bid Strategy & Daily Budget

Bid Strategy: When you launch your first search campaign you will set manual bids. Once your account accumulates data, you may decide to focus on conversions with the conversion optimizer, or use one of the many flexible bid strategies (We will dive deeper into this in a future article).

There are two primary manual bid strategies for you to choose from. The first is labeled “I’ll manually set my bids for clicks.” You can manage this at the campaign, ad group or keyword level. The benefit is that you have control over what you spend per click. The downside is that you have to do the research to know what dollar amount you want to set as your maximum CPC.

Adwords Bid Strategy

If your goal is to get very targeted traffic to your site, manual CPC is the right choice, because you can set your maximum CPC at the keyword level, and give your more targeted keywords a higher dollar amount.

The second option gives Google control: “Adwords will set my bids to help maximize clicks within my target budget.” While this is not always best for advertisers, there are times when it can help you research ideal maximum CPC bids when no other data is available, or if you are working with a small daily budget. Ultimately this is a reasonable choice when you want a lot of traffic or are focused on branding and awareness building.

Daily Budget: You have two options when setting your Daily Budget. The first is to set a budget by Ad Group. This is simple: when you reach the Budget option, select “Individual Budget” and type in your desired daily adspend.

The second option is to share a budget across multiple campaigns. This is fantastic if you have a set budget for a particular product or service, but have multiple campaigns based on geography.

Access the Shared Budget settings by going to the Shared Library tab on the left hand side of the page when you are in the Adwords Interface. Find the section labeled “Budgets,” click on “View,” and then +Budget. From here you can name your budget, set the amount, and apply it to existing campaigns.

How To Calculate Your Daily Budget

Most marketing budgets are based on a monthly dollar amount, but Adwords is day-to-day. The Adwords engine is allowed to spend your daily budget plus 20% on a given day, but is limited to spending your daily budget times 30.4 in any given month. This means you will see fluctuations day to day, but it should all come out in the wash.

A rookie mistake is to automatically take your monthly budget and divide by 30.4. This will work if your traffic is even 7 days a week, but most accounts will see peaks and valleys. One business account I manage gets 60% less traffic on the weekend and will leave allocated money on the table if I don’t set my daily spend higher. It takes a little arithmetic to get it right, but after a few weeks you should be able to find the sweet spot.

Crafting A Winning Campaign Structure

How do you decide how many campaigns to have in your account? At the very least you will want one campaign for each geographic region and each network; however, I segment campaigns by product or service as well, and name them in a way that lets me know what my campaigns contain.

Here’s an example campaign set-up for a hypothetical insurance company:

Search: Texas: Car Insurance

Search: Texas: Home Insurance

Search: Maryland: Car Insurance

Search: Maryland: Home Insurance

Display: Texas: Car Insurance

Display: Texas: Home Insurance

Display: Maryland: Car Insurance

Display: Maryland: Home Insurance

Display: Texas: Remarketing

Display: Maryland: Remarketing

Optimization Tip: In this example, you could have just one campaign per state for all insurance services. But what happens when you find out that one type of insurance has a lower cost per acquisition (CPA) and than the other? If it were my business, I’d want to spend more money on the better performing product. This approach gives you more control.

Ad Groups: Who

Your Customer – or the “Who” – has an itch that needs to be scratched. Ad groups help you silo keywords and ad copy together so that the individual searcher gets exactly what they want. If your ad does not scratch their itch, you not only lost a potential sale, you lowered your click through rate (CTR), which harms your keyword quality score (QS) and increases your cost per click (CPC).

You have the option to add more bling to your ad by using the Ad Extensions, which can be managed at the campaign or ad group level. This includes showing location information, phone number for click-to-call ads, and features like callouts that let you shout out benefits such as “free shipping” or “money-back guarantee.”

Although ad group settings do not ask you to set demographics or geography – which we normally associate with the “who” in marketing – the content in the ad groups are the key to the searchers heart. If you really know your customer persona, you can use the ad group structure to attract more qualified buyers.

Keywords – What Do You Have To Offer?

Keywords are the heart of Adwords. The mistake most people make is cramming a lot of keywords into a single ad group, including every permutation and variation possible. Thanks to keyword match types, you don’t need a crystal ball to reach all of your potential customers. We will cover keyword match types in a future article, but for now, let’s create your “root keyword” list.

Root keywords are really phrases of at least 2 to 3 words each – such as “car insurance” or “car insurance reviews.” Single words rarely perform well because their intent is ambiguous. Take the word “insurance.” Does the person typing this into Google want life, car, health, home or income insurance? We don’t know! If you don’t know, chances are they don’t either.

Once you make a list of root keywords, you will want to sort them into categories. Remember the game “which one of these things is not like the other?” Play this with your keyword list and see what happens! How would you break out this list?

car insurance premiums

fire insurance

car insurance reviews

car insurance quotes

automobile insurance

insurance for house

new house insurance

car & home insurance

home protection insurance

At the very least, I see these keywords sorted into the following Ad Groups: Auto Insurance, Car Insurance, Car Insurance Reviews, Fire Insurance, Home Insurance and House Insurance.

Optimization Tip: As your account accumulates clicks and conversions, you’ll want to review the search term report to see what keywords searchers are actually typing into the search box. This will give you fresh ideas for new ad groups and let you know what keywords to exclude.

Ad Copy: Why Should I Click?

Out of all the moving parts in the Adwords interface, your ad is the only thing a searcher will see. Whether you’re designing a lead generation campaign or selling products through e-commerce, crafting compelling and relevant ad copy based on a specific offer is one of the most important things you can do for your account.

Put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes, and ask “why should I click on this ad?” Chances are your ad will appear next to 8 or more competing ads, so yours must stand out.

Of course if you’re in the top one or two positions you’ll get more clicks than the others, but are these qualified buyers? In most cases, no. While the top ads receive the majority of clicks and a better CTR, in many cases they do not convert as well as those lower on the page. This is because a more savvy shopper is going to take the time to at least scan the ads before clicking.

This does not mean they will read every word, of course, so if you can have an offer that pops your ad will be more successful.

Ad copy can be used to disqualify searchers as well. No business is all things to all people. Your ad copy, coupled with the right keywords, can strike a balance between making an offer they can’t refuse and weeding out the people that will never become your customer.

Optimization Tip: You should constantly split test your ad copy. I recommend starting with two ads per device – two for computer/tablet, which is the default setting for ads, and two for mobile. Find which ad in each device class performs the best using statistically significant data, then kill the loser and replace it with a new contender.

Landing Pages: The Start of a Profitable Relationship

Attracting a potential client to your website is only the beginning of what could be a profitable relationship. The offer your ad promises should be clearly restated on the landing page so the searcher knows they’ve found the right destination.

We’ve all had the experience of clicking on an ad, mouth salivating, and then been disappointed. Don’t do this to your customer. If you know they’re looking for “car insurance quotes in Maryland,” don’t send them to a page talking about universal life insurance or an insurance broker’s biography.

Make it easy for potential customers to do business with you!

Landing page optimization is a science unto itself. In a perfect world, I like to have one landing page per ad group. If resources are not available, I insist on at least one landing page per product or service. Sending searchers to your homepage is usually a huge mistake since the homepage cannot be all things to all people.

Optimization Tip: Don’t discount the importance of the landing page when it comes to optimizing your Adwords account. When possible, split test offers and layout just like you split test ad copy. One thought is that the more technical your product or service, the longer your sales page may need to be, but I have seen short pages convert well too. Use a tool such as Visual Website Optimizer to easily modify and split test elements on a single URL.

How Solid is Your Adwords Account Structure?

Google allows up to 10,000 Campaigns per account, 20,000 ad groups per campaign, and 50 text ads per ad group, so there is no need to be stingy when crafting your plan of attack. At the same time, everything you create has to be managed and optimized, so finding a balance between quantity and quality is key.

If you need help setting up your Adwords account for success, don’t hesitate to reach out to Clickseed for help! We love crafting strategies that work.

Author: Heather Whittington

Heather Whittington is Clickseed's Adwords Strategist, a certified Google Partner and recognized for her Adwords Video Audits and account turnarounds.

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